Stephen Volan

TEDxBloomington 2011 Speaker - Stephen Volan

Stephen Volan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 37. Before the diagnosis, there was no term for him to describe and explain his behavior or his difficulty in navigating the minefield of the social world, let alone a productive method of addressing it. Long before autism was a word in most people’s vocabularies, he had unwittingly begun overcoming the handicaps of autism through a reliance on the one thing he knew how to do without hesitation: playing.

Since 2004 he has represented approximately 14,000 constituents in one of six district seats on the nine-member Bloomington city council. He has served as the council’s vice-president and its parliamentarian, and since taking office as the council’s representative on the board of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District.

He teaches a course at Indiana University called “Intro to Chess.” He owned The Cinemat, an independent video-rental store, movie-screening room and performance venue, from its founding in 2002 until its closure seven years later. In 1995 he founded BlueMarble Information Services, the first company in Bloomington to provide Internet access to the general public. The company, now known simply as BlueMarble.net, is now owned by the largest independent telecommunications company in the state.

Steve has been involved with “volunteer-powered, listener-supported” community radio station WFHB since the station’s first year on the air in 1993, where he has programmed a weekly two-hour show called “Siren Songs: Music by People Who Sing” under the airname “TallSteve.” The show airs as the first half of every Thursday’s “Afternoon Music Mix” from 1:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern Time (1800-2000 UTC). He was also a founding member of the board of directors of the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in 1994, where each year he still acts as a venue emcee. He graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Indiana University. He also attended Carnegie-Mellon University.

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